🍄 Mushrooms Inheriting the Earth: Bringing Plath to Life in Song 🍄

in #poetrylast year (edited)

I haven't done a #musicmonday post in so long, but this morning I was driving and listening to Paul Kelly being interviewed about his new book on poetry, 'Love is as Strong as Death' (which I'd like for Christmas, if anyone's wondering what to buy me). For those that don't know, Paul Kelly is a bit of an Australian legend and a wonderful song writer. He's also a huge lover of poetry, motivating him to set a lot of his favourite poems to music - including, Dylan Thomas's 'Death Shall Have No Dominion'.

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All shroomy photos courtesy of Unsplash




Somehow he manages to bring Sylvia Plath's poem to life, as if was always meant to be sung by Kelly. The beauty of the poem is not only that it's about mushrooms, but a quiet revolution forming. Maybe it's Steemians, quietly rising... ready to inherit the Earth. What do you reckon? Really, it's meant to be an extended metaphor for the rising of the voiceless, particularly woman. There's something - well, fecund about this. The fear man has of being alone in the dark, overgrown forest at night, when everything is moving and shifting and growing in the rich decay of the forest floor.

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly
Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.
Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.
Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,
Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,
Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We
Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking
Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!
We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,
Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:
We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door.
Sylvia Plath: Mushrooms

It's this earthy forest is-ness that comes across in another poem sung on the album by Gerard Manley Hopkins, which reads in part:

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod
And all is seared with trade bleared, smeared with toil
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod
And for all this, nature is never spent
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things

I felt a chill come over me reading this. I'm reading 'Overstory' by Richard Powers which sketches out characters relationship with trees in each chapter, the trees making time mean something else entirely. There is this feeling that nature continues despite the best efforts of man to raze it to the ground. Individuals are long dead whilst trees outlive them. Let us hope that 'the dearest freshness deep down things' outlive us - better they survive than us, with our destructive ignorance and wilful blindness, and our inability to access our green minds, that should listen to the rustling on the forest floor, and the mushrooms that shall inherit the earth.

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Something so sacred about mushrooms and the way they emerge from Mother Earth with so much healing power, and also so much incredible poison. Paul Kelly? Seems like another lifetime. LOL. Haven't heard that name in a decade or more. :) Are the Coloured Girls still a thing??


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This is an incredibly beautiful article. Well done! The poetry you referenced is intoxicating and I agree with all of the major purposes. Thank you for contributing content of this caliber. I will be making a mental jot of your talent and prose. Cheers, fellow steemian!

Thankyou so much for your comment! Very kind. Xxx

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What beautiful poems... so powerful.
This was quite the nice read!

Sadly, the video says it is unavailable in my country.

Oh no what a shame! Glad you enjoyed it. Try searching youtube for Paul Kelly Mushrooms... it is a very sweet as a song.

I did manage to find a version I could view here:

It has a beautifully relaxing quality when combined with the music, I must say... I may have to listen to more from this fellow :-)

Oh cool!!! Maybe I will update the post with this link.

One of hos famous songs is this one, about land rights in Australia based on a true story.

I love this. I've been guided to learn more about these ways of life, so it resonated well with me. :) I love the mushrooms growing gif, btw!

Sorrily I can't listen to the video as it wasn't uploaded to play in our country - weird!

Beautiful poetry and I love how nature can reclaim things! I look out on our acreage and see a massive amount of growth! It is like a jungle with our few little man made structures sticking out!
Amazing too how things remain dormant until the condition are right for them to come forth and the amazing micro-rhizomes and all that activity happening under the soil!

It is strange. Look up mushrooms by paul kelly on youtube.. you will like it!

This is quite nice. It's a great song by the way.

TheirTube has blocked the video 💯🐒

I know!!! Everyone keeps telling me lol. And then someone found it, but that's blocked for me. I wonder if it's a Steempeak problem?

Who knows with YouTube recently I would not be surprised 💯🐒

I think ThemTube is blocking playback on any platform but theirs meaning you have to agree with their BS policies 💯🐒

That is so shit!!!

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